With all the news surrounding whether to give or not to give trophies, I dug up this old post which explains exactly how I feel about competition in general. Just my two cents.
COMPETITION, IS IT REALLY HEALTHY?
Friendly competition. I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before but I can’t help but ask myself, is competition REALLY friendly? Does it always bring out the best in everyone and make for a great race, or is there more beneath the surface we pretend we do not see? We want to be the best. We want to win, the problem with that is there can only ever be one real winner. When you are part of a team sport that is also individual, and you are competing with the people you consider friends, the reality can be a little disturbing.
“Competition is the spice of sports; but if you make spice the whole meal you’ll get sick.” George Leonard
I believe it’s easy to feel constantly torn between being jealous of the people who are natural born winners and frustrated that your own time, effort, and hard work never seems to be enough to give you that edge to get ahead. What is a person supposed to do with that? Some might say try harder, practice more, give more effort, but sometimes you’re already giving it all you’ve got.
“Winners compare their achievements with their goals, while losers compare their achievements with those of other people” Nido Qubein
Perhaps this is the main difference. I know athletes who are constantly writing down goals. They come up with a plan on how to get from where they are to where they want to be. They are specific and focused and as soon as they cross one goal off the list, they add another one on. For others though, their goal is to always win or to beat a particular athlete that brings out their competitive spirit. There is a big difference in the thinking of both types of athletes.
“The competitor to be feared is the one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time” Henry Ford
I am on my way to my daughters state swim competition, I guess that is what made me think about all of this in the first place. Of course I want her to do well. I guess if I could say anything to her today, it would be this;
“If you can’t win, make the guy ahead of you break the record” Evan Esar
In the end, if you can walk away knowing you gave it your very best with no regrets, then never look back, keep looking ahead. When it comes down to it, friendly competition is possible to a certain degree but the most important person you will ever compete against is yourself.
“Look in the mirror…that’s your competition” Evan Carmichael
Let your goal always be to better yourself. Beat your own times, reach your own goals and always do the best you can. That is what winning is all about.
“Winners build on mistakes. Losers dwell on them” Arnold Mori
Perhaps the previous quote is the most differential factor in which athletes succeed and which athletes don’t. Maybe when it comes down to it, attitude is the most important factor of all. A true winner knows that there will always be someone better, faster. To win big, one must strive to swim a perfect race from start to finish and not get caught up in what place they are in when the race is over. And then, in the morning, drag yourself out of bed and practice harder than you’ve ever practiced before. Then drink some chocolate milk and go back and do it all again.